ENCORE: The Private and Professional Triumph of Emily Frankel by Teague Jackson

ENCORE: The Private and Professional Triumph of Emily Frankel

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Either truth is as strange as it's cracked up to be or somebody is telling a tall tale. Which would be in character: audacious dissembling was Emily's strong suit in building the dance career she set her mind on as a child and resumed after each of three crises--a bout with suicidal depression, a paralyzing auto accident, and the removal of 90% of her intestines. Not that she didn't also work harder than any, one else: Emily was always best, first, or youngest. Before she was 15 (after wandering into the U. of Chicago and placing as a senior), she headed for N.Y. (dancemecca), where she passed herself off as 21 with a B.A. in journalism and a Masters in social work to qualify for two jobs; she lived rent-free by sub-leasing extra rooms in her tenement, personally installing the plumbing, obtaining a landlord's license. . . . And Jackson--who fails to supply any dates--reports it all with unquestioning equanimity; if the going got rough, Emily could just ""switch into neutral"" (her dependable schizophrenic refuge) and then, refreshed, reorganize. She studied with Weidman and Graham and capitalized on their differences by combining the two techniques, founding the Dance Drama Duo and soon forming a whole company. Ever resourceful and versatile, Emily invented a booking-manager (herself, pseudonymously), painted sets, sewed costumes, choreographed dances, and--still under age--faked an I.D. to get driver's and marriage licenses! Her partner/husband found her too overbearing, and today she is married to actor John Cullum who saw her through long periods of psychoanalysis (word-for-word), hospitalization, and physical therapy. By the end of which Emily has a mentally healthier attitude, dancing because dancing ""required the ultimate in concentration, intellect, nerve, and artistry,"" but ""Never again. . . in the grip of a compulsive childhood dream."" A possibly dangerous model were it to find its way to the YA shelf and better shelved entirely (with the hope that it won't become the TV movie it reads like).

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1978
Publisher: Prentice-Hall